Thursday, May 25, 2017

FANTASY COMIC BOOKS: Focus on Comics about Dragons

Across the globe there have been legends of great beasts called dragons.  They have been seen by their respective region's writers as monsters, ancient gods, good luck, or the most foul evil.  There are believers in the world of the past existence of dragons.  Certainly, the dinosaur bones, the prehistoric ocean beasts, and other now explainable fossils of known creatures, give the mind reason to believe in odd, scary beasts.  As such they are popular features of stories, epic poems, movies and COMICs.  Here is a look at a number of comics worth checking out, that revolve around dragons.



In a sixth-century post-Roman Britain kingdom called Urland the people fear a great beast.  The king chooses a form of sacrifice to the 400-year-old dragon named Vermithrax Pejorative, by sending virgin girls to the slaughter.  Much like the myth of Theseus, where Athenian youths were offered to the Minotaur, this evokes a dark, fearsome quest, that only an epic hero can achieve.  The hero who rises to the occasion is Valerian.  His use of a special shield, and the innocence of his quest take him from young boy to brave hero.

Dragonslayer the movie was ok.  It had issues of the day of not having CGI, not having a big enough budget to really hit hard, but it had a story that was pretty nicely done.  The comic, oddly enough, was far better.  I was told in the past that with the right writer and artist you can tell multi million dollar budget stories.  I could still read this comic a few times. 


Black Dragon is a work that is beautiful to look at, but for most people who I've shared it with, seems a bit stiff.  But, for me it evokes some of the books I love best, such as King of Elfland's Daughter and Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene.  A hero, outcast, fugitive learns that two different worlds have a connection.  The Faerie world, the physical world both have queens, and have a say over the heart and actions of the soon to be knight Dunreith.  He is called to action to save the domains, versus a Black Dragon, who is fearsome and of legend.


The Dragonlance saga, as told in three graphic novels by Roy Thomas and Thomas Yeates is very pretty looking.  The story told is done well, and you can understand the story even if you didn't read the source material it is adapted from.  The story of a group of adventurers who end up fighting for power, using dragons, is solid.  But I would say, it has less of a spirit of excitement than it does, here is our interpretation of it.  The art while beautiful, isn't fluid in the sense of modern comics art.  It looks very much like the illustrations of the past greats, and I am not saying it is bad.  It just is more that you like looking at it than reading it.


Ron Marz told an epic tale of a woman fighting evil, and dragons in Sojourn.  He was brilliant with that.  What Dragon Prince does is something different, but still quite enjoyable.  While the previous series mentioned happened in antiquity, this is a story of the present.  An Chinese-American discovers that he is the Dragon Prince, last of a bloodline.  And should he fail in his adventure, both he, the dragons, and the line of men who can control dragons will die.  This has an easy sense of adventure and is very pleasant.  It doesn't take a genius to read it, but you won't feel robbed.


I bought all of the copies of Dragon Cross because the idea behind it all interested me.  Two brothers fighting, questing to find dragons.  It was not always great, but it was an interesting series, and kept my interest through to the end.

From the publisher
"Talon now finds himself traveling with companions whose lives are at risk just by being in his presence. While his brother Bronze is still tracking him, three other dragons are also on the hunt, and aren't too interested whether he returns breathing - or in a box!"

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